84% of areas in the UK saw SME lending from banks fall in the past year as small businesses continue to face difficulties in securing finance, according to data collected by London-based debt adviser Hadrian’s Wall Capital (HWC).
HWC data showed that 101 of 120 areas of the UK saw net falls in the value of outstanding bank loans to SMEs last year, as banks continued to withdraw from lending to small businesses. The total fall in lending amounted to 5.2%, or £9.7 billion, in a single year.
SME lending in the EC and WC postcodes of central London dropped by 23% and 21% respectively in just 12 months.
Hadrian’s Wall Capital analysis further found that a rise in interest rates of 0.25% would immediately cost SMEs £355m in extra interest payments from bank loans. Only 11% of bank loans to businesses are now on a fixed rate, down from 49% in 2012.
Marc Bajer, chief executive officer of Hadrian’s Wall Capital, said: “The news is not great for small businesses seeking finance.”
“Many assume that central London would be well-insulated from cuts in SME lending, but over the last year, it has been hit harder than anywhere else.”
“With the period of very low interest rates ending and banks reducing SMEs fixed-rate lending, we don’t expect securing finance to get any easier for small businesses in the foreseeable future.”
In a speech to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) last Tuesday small business minister Andrew Griffiths unveiled a £8m fund intended to boost SME growth, productivity and performance across England.